The Pirates lost to the Tigers today, 2-0, in the last game of a three-game series. Pittsburgh was going for the sweep but Rick Porcello was masterful, pitching 8 innings and only giving up 1 hit the entire day. He only needed 84 pitches to get through those 8-innings, but for whatever reason, Jim Leyland decided to take him out and it nearly cost him. Well, I shouldn't say "nearly". The Pirates did get the first two men on base in the ninth inning, but Ryan Doumit struck out, Garrett Jones grounded out, and Neil Walker didn't get to be the hero again today as he, too, grounded-out to end the game. Pirates starter Paul Maholm, once again, was the hard-luck loser. He only gave up two-runs but it was enough to give him yet another tough-loss. During the game, the Pirates announcers said that the team has only given Maholm 14 runs of support during the times he's pitched this season. That's insane. Leave it to the Pirates to have some kind of weird stat like that. With a 3.65 ERA, you'd think Maholm would be having a great season, but instead, he's 1-7. That's the very definition of a tough-luck loser.
Despite the loss, it was nice to see the Pirates take 2 of 3 from Detroit. The team has been notoriously bad in interleague play since its inception in 1997. Before this weekend, they were 73-123 all-time against the American League. Interleague play usually marks a downward turn for the Bucs so maybe this series is a sign of better things to come.
After losing six in a row and facing the prospects of going up against the Reds and Tigers, I was starting to get my usual sinking-feeling. But surprisingly, they answered with a four-game winning streak by sweeping the Reds and taking the first two from the Tigers this weekend.
Instead of slipping maybe ten-games under .500, now they're only two-games under. It's weeks like this that could keep the fans hopes up and, more importantly, allow the young players to continue to have confidence as the season progresses.